Thursday, April 23, 2009

Can you identify this varmit?....

Two days ago I looked out on the back porch and there were lots of these caterpillars. Then the more I looked the more I saw; they were on the trees, blueberry bushes, peach trees and the list could go on and on. So I had some Sevin dust (the pet friendly kind) and I started dusting like a mad woman. And this has been my mission, to kill them. I laid down a perimeter around our house, flower garden, blue berry patch, peach trees, and garden. These little buggers like warmth and can be found on the concrete, and sunny sides of almost everything! YIKES!! In the top picture you can also see some holes I found in an oak tree, they go all the way around the tree and are at every 4-5 ft. all the way up the tree. What's up with that?
I took two of them to the county extension agents office yesterday and they're gonna get back to me. I'm pretty riled about these varmints and in the words of Bugs Bunny "you realize this means war." Go ahead and snicker, I know I sound like Bill Murray in Caddy Shack(actually he had some ideas I'd consider).
The good news is as I sit in my chair each morning after my JP goes to work I've had a treat. This little bird couple has been building a nest in my fern on the front porch and I watch them come and go. I can't tell what kind of bird they are because at that time of day the morning sun is coming in that window so all I see is their silhouette.
All three bluebird houses are full, which is so cool. Also, the hummingbirds started coming by to feed early this month (I'll try to get a picture of them soon.)
So that's the good and bad news from the holler. All in all we are truly blessed.


TennZen said...

The caterpillars are Eastern Tent Caterpillars. Yucky things. Here is a link to a good website from the University of Kentucky about controlling an infestation.

As for the holes... since you said it was an oak tree (must be a young one), my best evaluation is that you have oak borers eating the tree and the woodpeckers are going after them, thus enlarging the holes.

There's not a whole lot you can do about the borers. They do affect the timber value, but not much else. Here's a webpage for more info:

Sorry to hear about your bugs. Hopefully you can get 'em under control. Good luck!

Bell said...

We have those worms. Great entertainment for the children. Lovely K will collect them by the jarful. My hubby has always called them "tent worms" and says they are bad for the trees. I'd love to hear what the extension office says about them. If they are no help, tell me. I'll call my ancient great aunt who used to do that job. She probably has one of those "old wives tales" type of cures that really works.

THANKS FOR THE TREAT! That was such a fabulous surprise. You are so thoughtful. Sorry I wasn't here to squeal with delight in your face!

Mrs. JP said...

Thanks TennZen, at least now I know what it is. Maybe they won't do much damage after all.

Lena said...

Eww! I've been seeing many more of them on this side of the mountains as well. One was eating my Coral Bells leaves just yesterday evening!
I hope the Sevin works. I purchased an organic version last year that has BTK in it, and maybe that could help in my garden.
How nice to have a nest in your fern.....:-)
Do your dogs ever stalk small birds? Kane did that yesterday and then took a giant leap and,, he didn't "get" the bird, but I think he was doing it more for the amusement than any real "food" value. haha. I was laughing so 6 am in the morning!

Mrs. JP said...

Oh our dogs stalk everything in and around our yard! Any little birds that just land in the yard starts a 6 dog race to the place where it landed and then promptly takes off. By the way, Scrappy always wins :O)
The turkeys have become so accustom to all the barking that they just ignore them. This infuriates the pack.
I told JP yesterday that if Daisy had a water bowl by the fence line she'd stay there all day. The cows come up to the fence and she goes nuts. She's convinced they are a threat and by gum she's not having it.

YD said...

Eewwww! Those really brought back some memories! I remember when we were little, almost every year we had to go through this. There would be so many of them around(they were everywhere and in everything) that it made life difficult for a week or two. And it seems like it only happened around our house(probably because of all the trees around). So we would for that week, move to our church and stay there until they were gone.